At Least 32 Dead in Tripoli Gunfights

The violence began when militias fired on peaceful protesters who were demanding they leave the city.

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Mahmud Turkia / AFP / Getty Images

People assist a man who was injured after Libyan militiamen opened fire on a crowd in Tripoli, Nov. 15, 2013.

Gunfights continued throughout the day Friday in the Libyan capital of Tripoli after militiamen opened fire on peaceful crowds protesting their presence in the city.

At least 32 people were killed and nearly 400 wounded in the violence, according to the Health Ministry, shattering the relative calm in the capital city of the volatile North African country. The government has struggled to bring under control armed militias that have developed across the country since an uprising ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The fighting began when militiamen from the city of Misrata fired at about 500 protesters as they chanted, “We don’t want armed militas!” Reuters reports.

The protesters fled but some returned armed to lay siege to the group’s compound. Soldiers from the Libyan military attempted to separate the sides and prevent more people from joining.